August 10, 2014
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, again

I’ve probably read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 17 times…. Each time I read the book, or any of the Potter books for that matter, something different stands out. This time, this passage from the very last chapter, “The Flaw in the Plan,” was what shone the brightest (and may have made my cry a tear or two):

The house-elves of Hogwarts swarmed into the entrance hall, screaming and waving carving knives and cleavers, and at their head, the locket of Regulus Black bouncing on his chest, was Kreacher, his bullfrog’s voice audible even above this din: “Fight! Fight for my Master, defender of house-elves! Fight the Dark Lord, in the name of brave Regulus! Fight!”

Are you weeping? You should be. During this read of Deathly Hallows, I really noticed Kreacher’s relentless anger and frustration being melted away by Harry’s kindness. Of course, it was all Hermione’s idea — she pointed out way earlier in the book that Sirius’s mistreatment of Kreacher and underestimation of his emotional capacity was what prompted his betrayal. When finally Harry decided that Kreacher, though not human, should be treated like a human, everything changed. 

All Kreacher needed — all this vile, horrible monster needed to change his ways and figuratively shed his horrific outer skin was some patience, kindness, and acceptance. I kind of think that’s all anyone needs. 

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Filed under: Harry Potter 
August 10, 2014
On Diets

(Yeah, I totally just did an update a little while ago, but I actually want to write about something that I haven’t really written about in awhile.)

So I’m doing this new thing where I don’t eat anything containing gluten or granulated sugar. I admit, I have a history of doing weird diets: vegetarianism, veganism (which lasted no where near as long as vegetarianism, how do you do it Ellen?), no-red-meat-ism, calorie watching (so sorry to drop the “-isms” — and the parallelism was working so well)… a whole lot of things. The purpose behind all these diets is quite simple: I am a lazy sunuvabitch. Honestly. I would rather make drastic changes to my diet than attempt to burn calories.

Previously, watching calories and/or eliminating food groups was nothing near constructive and only served as a justification to stay lazy. But apparently, wheat is a food group that, when eliminated, can do more than assuage my laziness. I’ve actually lost weight.

So, don’t offer me the bread. Don’t give me the ice cream. And for God’s sake, keep the Oreo’s at bay — I’m not going to take them. I am, for the first time, like, ever, motivated to preserve my current eating habits. I’m also motivated to preserve my current attendance record at the gym. 

That’s all, bye.

August 10, 2014
Why did I ever stop using this?

Update: I’m going to college in exactly two weeks and one day. Well — I’m moving to college in exactly two weeks and one day. Kind of — I’m flying to Connecticut in exactly two weeks and one day and from there I am going to begin doing collegiate things, okay? I’ve been emotionally preparing for this departure for quite some time, and I think I’m overthinking it. Moving 1,000 miles away is no big deal (and I’m not being sarcastic: in the present time, connectivity is equal to WiFi, which I shall have, so mileage will really be the only true separator between me and my Alabamian relationships). I don’t really know why I’ve stopped blogging… I never know, honestly, because the desire to write online comes and goes. But as I have repurposed all of my journaling notebooks for one specific goal, I now need a new place to write when I decide to do something outside of that goal. I return to blogging not out of guilt or longing but out of necessity. I shall be back soon with more things. Bye.

July 18, 2014
Waging a War Against Womanless Beauty Pageants

Womanless beauty pageants bug me. They make me uncomfortable. No, this is putting it lightly. Actually, they infuriate me.

Before I try my hardest to invalidate these atrocities, I think it’s best I explain what these pageants are, even though they are largely self-explanatory. Womanless beauty pageants involve men wearing women’s dresses whilst prancing around on a stage for laughs.

And you know what? It isn’t funny. I had to sit through a good many of these things over the past several years, as they were required fundraisers for a youth trip I went on for six years during my childhood and adolescence. I have plenty of experience with them, and none of it was enjoyable. Let me tell you why I didn’t laugh.

There were kids in the audience. Impressionable, young children who attended this fundraiser with their parents. There were kids who watched as grown adults laughed their ass off at a man in a dress. There were kids who had no idea that clothing should be gender-specific, kids experiencing a rude awakening that, apparently, people who dress in clothing that doesn’t match their gender deserve to be ridiculed. There are kids who leave this lighthearted atmosphere unconcerned. But one day these kids will realize that gender-nonconformity isn’t a fundraising joke. It’s real life.

This godforsaken fundraiser depletes our children’s natural supply of tolerance and acceptance. And I’m not okay with that.

Do you know how many transgender men and women are murdered each year? For no other purpose than their gender identity? Do you know what kind of lives transgender people are subject to live? If you don’t, let me tell you a few things I read here:

  • 49% of transgender people attempt suicide.
  • While researchers estimate that less than a tenth of a percent of the population is transgender, transgender youth account for a whopping 18% of homeless people in cities like Chicago.
  • 1 in 12 transgender people are murdered.

If this doesn’t make you a bit frustrated with the entire concept of womanless beauty pageants, let me make one more attempt to tie the knots for you.

Allowing children to witness grown adults laugh at man for wearing women’s clothes teaches them that gender identity and expression belong nicely in two boxes — male and female — and anyone who falls outside of those boxes is inherently wrong. At a point, kids who are subject to this kind of response to gender-nonconformity will not settle for ridicule. Imagine, God forbid, that they one day think it’s okay to harass and assault a person they come across who has male DNA but identifies as female?

I don’t care what your beliefs are. I don’t care what you support. I don’t care if you think LGBT rights are wrong. But human rights are right, and you know what? Humans do not deserve to die for being who they are.

There are many other problems that are around desensitizing people to compassion. By no means am I saying that every issue with transgender hate crimes can be traced back to a womanless beauty pageant. But I would rather renounce my support of one thing I know to be problematic than peacefully stand by and watch.

So there you have it. Please don’t ask me to attend a womanless beauty pageant. I’m not going to.

 

March 4, 2014
huffpostteen:

"Every single local scholarship I am interested in applying for has requested that I give them the name of the institution at which I plan to enroll next fall, even though many of the scholarship applications are due before I’ve even found out if I’ve been accepted to my top choice school or not. Thinking about your future can be very stressful, and while it does fulfill a great purpose during a vast majority of your high school career, there are times when it isn’t appropriate at all: specifically, the period of time between the day you submit your last college application and the time when you learn the results….
If you’re like me, maybe this will help.”
- Our blogger Jackson Barnett breaks down all the things you should do INSTEAD of freak out over your future.

Check out my newest post for HuffPost Teen! :)

huffpostteen:

"Every single local scholarship I am interested in applying for has requested that I give them the name of the institution at which I plan to enroll next fall, even though many of the scholarship applications are due before I’ve even found out if I’ve been accepted to my top choice school or not. Thinking about your future can be very stressful, and while it does fulfill a great purpose during a vast majority of your high school career, there are times when it isn’t appropriate at all: specifically, the period of time between the day you submit your last college application and the time when you learn the results….

If you’re like me, maybe this will help.”

- Our blogger Jackson Barnett breaks down all the things you should do INSTEAD of freak out over your future.

Check out my newest post for HuffPost Teen! :)

March 3, 2014
Update… again

jacksonbarnett:

I have a taste in my mouth that screams “I’d rather die than go to school tomorrow,” and that’s basically how my life has been for the last few months. Senior year is a rough time, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone — except that a large percentage of the population kind of needs to graduate to be remotely successful in life, so you’re just going to have to bear with it. 

The underlying theme to my life is confusion and chaos, and the fact that I still don’t know where I’ll be next year causes me stomachaches and pain in my heart like nothing ever has before. It also incites a feeling of restless excitement — but that feeling is prominent far less frequently than the nausea. Oh well. There will be a blog on HuffPost Teen very soon about what I should be doing instead of thinking about this stuff. I’m really bad at dealing with life, and that facet of my existence was present in my traumatic experience of calling a representative at AT&T to complain about our malfunctioning internet service. 

In a nutshell, I reread my Columbia application today, and I accidentally wrote “Prepatory” instead of “Preparatory” in the essay I wrote about John Green, and I’ve been weepy about that for the last few hours. 

The interesting part of my life is considerably smaller than the boring part, but I ate cheesecake yogurt today while my friends ate fruity yogurt, and I decided that I’ll probably take up running when I’m older. You know how America’s like obsessed with this whole “30 under 30” concept? I’ll probably be in the “30 over 300” category one day. 300 pounds. Please tell me you loled. I’m really bad at jokes.

I have been religiously watching the Harry Potter movies for the past month or two, and they’re starting to get repetitive. I think I need another fantasy series, but JK Rowling simultaneously brought glory to the world of literature and destroyed it… nothing compares. I also stepped on one of my brother’s wands — yes, he has wands, but, sadly, no, he isn’t a Muggle-born — and I’m kind of annoyed with myself about that. But I think I’ll buy him two more wands for his birthday in April. Maybe he won’t read this.

Another thing that has happened in the last few months — I’ve finally begun to realize and accept that I am actually very poor-sighted. I’ve worn glasses since I was a little nothing in preschool. I have amblyopia (I’d rather say that than “lazy eye,” because those are quite often made fun of and it’s annoying), and I have pretty major headaches without my glasses. I thought for years that that was really the only reason I wore glasses — to avoid the headaches. I woke up one morning a few weeks ago, however, and scrolled through Instagram before I put my glasses on. I remember looking at this picture that I thought was so cool — I thought it was a picture of a house. A few hours later, when I was scrolling through Instagram again, with my glasses on, I realized that I had stumbled upon the same picture from earlier, and it was totally a photo of a dog. 

Oops.

Have a fabulous week, everyone. 

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Filed under: jackson 
February 23, 2014
Update… again

I have a taste in my mouth that screams “I’d rather die than go to school tomorrow,” and that’s basically how my life has been for the last few months. Senior year is a rough time, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone — except that a large percentage of the population kind of needs to graduate to be remotely successful in life, so you’re just going to have to bear with it. 

The underlying theme to my life is confusion and chaos, and the fact that I still don’t know where I’ll be next year causes me stomachaches and pain in my heart like nothing ever has before. It also incites a feeling of restless excitement — but that feeling is prominent far less frequently than the nausea. Oh well. There will be a blog on HuffPost Teen very soon about what I should be doing instead of thinking about this stuff. I’m really bad at dealing with life, and that facet of my existence was present in my traumatic experience of calling a representative at AT&T to complain about our malfunctioning internet service. 

In a nutshell, I reread my Columbia application today, and I accidentally wrote “Prepatory” instead of “Preparatory” in the essay I wrote about John Green, and I’ve been weepy about that for the last few hours. 

The interesting part of my life is considerably smaller than the boring part, but I ate cheesecake yogurt today while my friends ate fruity yogurt, and I decided that I’ll probably take up running when I’m older. You know how America’s like obsessed with this whole “30 under 30” concept? I’ll probably be in the “30 over 300” category one day. 300 pounds. Please tell me you loled. I’m really bad at jokes.

I have been religiously watching the Harry Potter movies for the past month or two, and they’re starting to get repetitive. I think I need another fantasy series, but JK Rowling simultaneously brought glory to the world of literature and destroyed it… nothing compares. I also stepped on one of my brother’s wands — yes, he has wands, but, sadly, no, he isn’t a Muggle-born — and I’m kind of annoyed with myself about that. But I think I’ll buy him two more wands for his birthday in April. Maybe he won’t read this.

Another thing that has happened in the last few months — I’ve finally begun to realize and accept that I am actually very poor-sighted. I’ve worn glasses since I was a little nothing in preschool. I have amblyopia (I’d rather say that than “lazy eye,” because those are quite often made fun of and it’s annoying), and I have pretty major headaches without my glasses. I thought for years that that was really the only reason I wore glasses — to avoid the headaches. I woke up one morning a few weeks ago, however, and scrolled through Instagram before I put my glasses on. I remember looking at this picture that I thought was so cool — I thought it was a picture of a house. A few hours later, when I was scrolling through Instagram again, with my glasses on, I realized that I had stumbled upon the same picture from earlier, and it was totally a photo of a dog. 

Oops.

Have a fabulous week, everyone. 

February 16, 2014
Just a little update

As I lay in bed at 11:21 at night on a Saturday, I feel the need to update you guys on my life. I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I should (on this blog — my journal is absolutely full of incriminating information about the last two months of my life (I may be joking)), so I absolutely apologize for that.

Anyone who has had a conversation with me this year knows that of the 13 schools I applied to, none has yet to present an X to mark the spot of my future home. Only 3 out of 13 have accepted me just yet — no rejections, but I’m sure they’ll show up at some point — and I’m just trying to make it to the official Ivy League Regular Decision decision release day, March 27. A short answer to a long dilemma: I really won’t know anything until March. Unless one of the schools decides to bless me with a rare “likely letter”… Please… I’m begging you to put me out of my misery (this was, in fact, a blog-subtweet).

The last semester of my senior year is rapidly flying by — thanks to nearly two weeks of snow days and a couple days in Washington, DC. Basically I’m always busy, and even though my twitter has an air of “my life is boring,” it’s actually ridiculously fabulous for a teenage boy from middle-of-nowhere-southeast-of-Birmingham, Alabama.

A year ago, I might’ve been partying through all hours of a Saturday night (probably not), but I’m currently in bed right now because I have to go to church — work — tomorrow morning. I am oh-so-enjoying my job as a church pianist, and my seventh month at the job has been just as much fun as the first. It can be overwhelming to prepare song after song after song, and yes, giving up late Saturday nights has been harder than I anticipated… But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I’m so sad that I’ll only be playing for a few more months at that precious church, but the experience has taught me so much about myself and the level of musicianship I am currently and the extent I want to take my musicianship to is much different than I expected. Basically, piano is a cool hobby and hobbies shouldn’t make more than a church pianist’s salary anyway.

My personal life is pretty grand, too. I’ve expounded upon many friendships this year that I had begun to develop earlier in my high school experience — unfortunately, that leaves me with like 8 people to miss when I go to college instead of the 2 people I had to miss last year. My social life really has grown that much and I love all of my intensified friendships with my entire being.

Right now, I am stagnant — much like I will be this summer, when I know where I’m going. At this point, I can do nothing to progress time or to shape decisions and plans that have already been formed long before I knew what a standardized test even meant to my future. The world will place me in the pocket I need to be in, and learning to accept that mystery is my goal between now and, well, graduation. The feeling is unique and the experience has been difficult, but it’s another one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

That’s pretty much all for now. If you’ve read this much, thanks for caring about me. I love you for that.

How have you been?

January 30, 2014

tyleroakley:

coca-cola-dave:

Song: Caleb Hyles
Artist: juliajm15

OH MY GOD YES THIS IS SO YES.

Best cover from Frozen I’ve ever heard. Listen. Now.

(Source: escalusia)

January 5, 2014
TYLER OAKLEY TWEETED ME (featuring Tyler’s “HARRY STYLES RETWEETED ME” video and other reasons why we’re destined to be internet besties)

So. Let me just start this off by saying that I would totally make a YouTube video but actually YouTubing is Tyler’s thing and this is mine so ya dig? I’m writing about it. 

Several months ago, Tyler tweeted out a One Direction video and Harry Styles retweeted it, adding, “thanks mate.” And Tyler took his happy self over to a camera and recorded this video about it: 

Today I remembered that video and I realized that I wouldn’t really be a Tyler fan if I didn’t treat his tweet to me in the same fashion.

So basically here’s what happened. I adore Tyler, obviously. I have for like a year now. He’s everything, obviously. And so I wrote this post about him on Huffington Post Teen just kind of casually professing my adoration and love for him — you know, as one does. (Seriously. Read the post. He means the world to me.) When Huffington Post published it last night, I decided that Tyler was going to read the post (I typed that with all the sass. He was totally going to read it — end of story). So I got my Tyler fans on twitter to share it maniacally until it reached him.

But I did not expect him to (a) read it so quickly or (b) tweet meSo I’m still recovering from the shock.

Anyway, I realized that Tyler and I are basically the same person when I thought about his Harry Styles tweet reaction. Here’s a list proving my point:

  1. I adore Tyler. Tyler adores Harry Styles. Simple enough.
  2. When Tyler tweeted me — and when Harry tweeted Tyler — we both had like 1,000,000 people emailing/texting/tweeting us congratulations. So clearly everyone knows that I’m obsessed with Tyler/Tyler is obsessed with Harry.
  3. Tyler said that he couldn’t be productive after Harry tweeted him. So here’s my deal: I’m a church pianist, and I usually practice my music on Saturday nights before church. And when Tyler tweeted me, I was just like “lol I hope I don’t suck tomorrow” and kind of totally gave up on the idea of practicing for church. I could not be productive after that. (If my preacher is reading this — SORRY! Hope I wasn’t too terrible this morning!)
  4. Like literally, it’s just a tweet. It’s a freaking tweet and Tyler was out of commission for hours and I’ve been out of commission since yesterday. God bless.

So basically here’s what my point is: Tyler tweeted me and I’m still freaking the freak out. And I know you stalk your Tumblr tag Tyler, so when you read this — I know how you felt on July 23, man, and it’s a weird feeling.

So in a nutshell, we’re basically the same person. Which means that whether you like it or not, we’re going to be internet besties one day. It’s totally going to happen. (I hope.)

Adore you, Tyler. Thanks for loving your fans. <3

(Also, don’t be fooled by the blandness of text. I’m totally still freaking the freak out right now.)

January 5, 2014
What Tyler Oakley Taught Me About Being a 'Man'

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Filed under: tyler oakley 
January 3, 2014
Open letter to the creator of “Childersburg Thots”

Someone has created a Facebook page called “Childersburg Thots,” which apparently means whores or something like that. This page has the sole purpose of “outing” teenagers who are, by the creator of this page’s definition, “thots,” or whores.

Several of the victims of this page have been public about their online attack — saying things like “this made me want to kill myself” or “this made me want to end it all.”

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not heartbroken for these victims. I am mad for these victims. I honestly believe two things: (a) being heartbroken doesn’t actually solve anything, and (b) the victims aren’t the ones that are suffering from this the most.

You see, victims, once you find a way to move on from the names and the insults, you’ll be okay. I hope you will. But the creator of this account will never be able to walk away from this.

Now, I want to take a moment to attack the parents of the “Childersburg Thots” mastermind: you probably should have considered adoption, because you clearly have no idea how to raise a child, and I’m certain that there are lovely adoptive parents out there who would have done your child a much better service than you have. When I was young, I was taught that life is valuable and people are more than their actions or lifestyles. My mom once brought up a friend of hers in conversation, and I said, “Oh, the gay one?” And I was immediately chastised — quickly made aware that my mom’s friend was a person, not a sexuality. Clearly, parents of the “Childersburg Thots” creator, you never had a conversation even remotely similar with your child. Good job.

Now, of course, it isn’t all the parents’ responsibility (but I do think your parents really fail at parenthood). It is also your fault, too — and now, I’m addressing you, the creator of this account. Did you never internalize exactly what it meant when people called you a jerk? Because if you created this page, I’m certain you have been called that before. You clearly never appreciated the feeling of being ridiculed. Because that feeling changes a person.

Let me tell you what it feels like to be ridiculed. Because, goodness, I know. You see, I ran into another person just like you once. He let me know in very unkind words that I was gay. I was gay for wearing skinny jeans. I was gay for playing the piano. I was even gay for being smart. Because I was happy being unapologetically myself, by his definition and clear hatred for the LGBT community, I was wrong. It made me hate the things that made me happy. That feeling sucked all the happiness out of my favorite parts of my life. Have you ever felt like that?

I would love to be able to make you feel like that — because that’s exactly how you’re making far too many teenage girls feel right now. 

You see, you don’t actually have the privilege to inform people of what they are. You can’t say to someone that they are a whore and that actually make them a whore. Just like my bully from so many years ago couldn’t change my sexuality just because he thought I looked gay. 

So now that I have disproved every insult you have thrown towards all your victims, I have a question: Who do you think you are? After you have thrown labels to everyone you hate, tell me: what label fits you?

Do you think you are a good person? I’m not going to say whether you are or not — like I said earlier, no single person has the ability to decide for another person what that person is. 

You may very well be a good person — you may have a good heart and misguided intentions. But what you have done will never leave you. You will never be able to walk away from this experience with clean hands. I want you to know that when your victims have children, they will teach them that cyberbullying isn’t okay by telling them the story of the time they wanted to hurt themselves because of what you put on the internet. 

I hope you can live with that.

December 21, 2013
It’s Not Really a Funny Story

Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story, jumped off his parents’ home in Brooklyn to his death. I’m selfishly heartbroken about it.

I want to write about it, but my thoughts are so jumbled up and confused that I can’t seem to make myself do it. Maybe in a few days.

December 20, 2013
Why Tenth Graders who Read Catch-22 will Become a Lost Generation (A Satire)

One of the most accurate summaries of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is this: “The twitter version of Catch-22 goes like this. Yossarian could not escape flying missions because to claim it was driving him crazy was a purely rational argument. Therefore he was not crazy” (McClimens 8). This summary exceeds the 140-character limit for Twitter statuses by four characters and barely scratches the surface of the difficult-to-receive elements in Heller’s novel; so, of course, it is obvious that a much more in-depth explanation of the novel’s questionable material is necessary. The Twitter description of the novel exposes the insanity present in Heller’s work — and the insanity could possibly be received by young audiences if it alone was the only questionable material. Heller also makes a use of mocking religion and war — all throughout a very confusing chronological order — which deems his novel completely inappropriate for young audiences. Because of these elements, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is not an appropriate novel for tenth-grade honors students to read. The novel promotes questioning and disrespect — about war and God, in particular — and of insanity, which is present in Yossarian, the main character. While Catch-22 is a very popular novel in the canon of American literature, it is not appropriate for impressionable high school sophomores to read.

“Joseph Heller’s satirical war novel Catch-22 depicts the absurdity and inhumanity of warfare through the experiences of Yossarian, a bombardier pilot stationed in Pianosa (near Italy) in World War II” (“Catch 22”). This quote explains the ideology of Heller’s novel the best — Heller illustrates that war is absurd and inhuman, challenging the innate respect Americans have for war through the exploitation of a character who has no respect for war. Obviously, just because a person introduces a controversial ideology does not necessarily mean that the medium of the idea should be banned — but the quality of Heller’s writing is undeniable.

When he discusses the war, he says this about Yossarian and his group: “But there was no enthusiasm in Yossarian’s group. In Yossarian’s group there was only a mounting number of enlisted men and officers who found their way solemnly to Sergeant Towser several times a day to ask if the orders sending them home had come in” (Heller 24). He illustrates the dissonance between Yossarian and the other army men, those who actually appreciated the war, in a way that makes Yossarian eerily relatable: “Havermeyer was a lead bombardier who never missed. Yossarian was a lead bombardier who had been demoted because he no longer gave a damn whether he missed or not. He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive” (Heller 27).

You see, Heller’s ideology is not what needs to be banned, because an idea alone is not likely to spark a revolution. The reason Heller’s book deserves to be banned is that Yossarian and his hatred of war is so relatable. If every high school sophomore read Catch-22, the generation of young readers would grow into a generation of Americans unwilling to protect America during her time of need. High school sophomores are just impressionable enough to have their minds completely changed by a single novel.

Heller does an awfully good job of challenging the opinions of war — but, surprisingly enough, his satirical approach to war is not the most threatening argument Heller makes in Catch-22. “Heller’s satire seems to be a more direct attack on religion. Yossarian, the anti-hero, cynically calls God ‘a colossal, immortal blunderer! When you consider the opportunity and power He had to really do a job, and then look at the stupid ugly little mess He made of it instead’ (p. 230)” (Crow). In a country whose citizens live their lives based on God’s Holy Word, Heller’s novel has absolutely no place.

Yossarian, who is obviously an atheist, challenges and mocks God several times throughout Heller’s story. “‘Isn’t He punishing me enough,’ Yossarian snorted resentfully. ‘You know, we mustn’t let Him get away with it. Oh no, we certainly mustn’t let Him get away scot-free for all the sorrow He’s caused us. Someday I’m going to make Him pay’” (Heller 201). American children are not capable of handling such a challenging approach to Christianity. Children must be able to form their faith systems without the influence of outside sources — it is completely reasonable to say that children should be limited to developing their Biblical beliefs with the help of the Bible and the Bible alone.

Atheists like Yossarian even caused some disruption in Heller’s world of Pianosa, when the chaplain made Colonel Cathcart aware of the religious status in the army — such as the chaplain’s friend, Yossarian: “Colonel Cathcart stopped in his tracks. ‘What atheists?’ he bellowed defensively, his whole manner changing in a flash to one of virtuous and belligerent denial. ‘There are no atheists in my outfit! Atheism is against the law, isn’t it?’” (Heller 216). The Colonel represents the minds of American children, who are certainly not stable enough to know that atheism is lawful. Perhaps this excerpt provides the most clarity regarding the novel’s threat to Christianity: “It was already some time since the chaplain had first begun wondering what everything was all about. Was there a God?” (Heller 302). Impressionable children should not be immersed in a backwards culture in which a figurehead of Christianity — a chaplain — questions his faith. Impressionable children would be very likely to follow Heller’s chaplain’s leadership; if tenth grade students were allowed to read Catch-22, it is very safe to say that Christianity would die with the generation born in 1997 and 1998.

Besides Joseph Heller’s obsession with challenging the concepts of war and religion, he also makes an unappreciated effort to show how insane Yossarian is. Impressionable high school children should not be immersed into Yossarian’s unstable way of thinking — especially considering that much of Catch-22 is written with a focus on Yossarian’s perspective.

Yossarian has an absurdly annoying habit of falling in love — clearly a habit derived from his insanity — and he never seems to fall in “love” the same way twice. This entire element of Yossarian’s character is completely inappropriate for impressionable children to read, because it would certainly confuse the correct definition of love, which is obviously between one man and one woman for a lifetime.

Yossarian once has a very human, normal experience with love: “His heart cracked, and he fell in love. He wondered if she would marry him” (Heller 177). All the genders are correct — a man is falling in love with a woman — and the man wants to have the woman in marriage. Yossarian appears to have the right kind of love, and he also appears to respect love. But when another of his love experiences is entirely sexual — “Yossarian loved her. She was a marvelous piece of ass who found him only fair” (Heller 74) — we understand that Yossarian has a very corrupted view of love. Even more corrupt is this experience: ‘“Yossarian was in love with the maid in the lime-colored panties because she seemed to be the only woman left he could make love to without falling in love with” (Heller 148). Yossarian categorizes many conflicting emotions — ranging from infatuation to his own horniness — with love. No tenth grader should read something that equates love to cheap sex. These impressionable children might be persuaded to disregard the education system’s emphasis on abstinence. Students may believe that they should engage in sexual activities because of Yossarian’s romanticism of the acts.

If all of these examples did not provide a large enough red flag for the novel Catch-22, this one is sure to deem the novel as inappropriate. “The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him” (cite, page 1). This “love” could convince students that homosexuality is normal and acceptable, which is obviously not true in the slightest. If nothing else, this excerpt alone provides enough reason for the novel to be banned — the novel disagrees with the educational system’s approach to heteronormativity. The generation of tenth-graders who read Catch-22 would grow into an entirely homosexual population, and no one from their age group would ever be able to reproduce.

Catch-22 is obviously a very inappropriate book for impressionable children to read. Even the advanced sophomores — honors students — could not handle reading this novel. Yossarian’s insanity is much too much for them to handle. The disrespect for God and for war is entirely inappropriate. Catch-22 should be banned immediately.

Works Cited:

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition. Kindle Edition. Simon & Schuster, 2010. 1-546. eBook.

McClimens, Alex. “Catch 22.” 12 2009: 8. Print.

"Catch-22." Novels for Students. 1. 2007.

Crow, Anne. “Unlikely heroes: Anne Crow focuses on two characters in Catch-22 and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin who become heroes in spite of the most unpromising beginnings.” The English Review 15.3 (2005): 24+. Gale Power Search. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.

December 20, 2013
On Phil Robertson

If you are from America, you know the uproar this paragraph has caused:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Phil Robertson has made a bed for himself, and he is definitely lying in it now. His relationship with Duck Dynasty’s host, AE, appears to be in shambles. Of course, everyone knows that. This is my opinion — the opinion of a (Christian) gay rights activist — on the whole situation.

Phil Robertson was not Biblical. His statement was not in any way a Biblical refute towards homosexuality. I don’t understand why anyone is saying that this statement represents his faith. This is all about his sexual preference. Jesus never said “Let there be vaginas and let dudes want them.” All Phil is saying is that vaginas are better for men than anuses are — and I seriously feel all kinds of inappropriate talking about this.

One key part of his statement is that he says “It seems like, to me…” So even though he seems like he is trying to shove his beliefs on other people, he makes a statement that many liberal-minded people understand: to me. Phil understands his own sexuality, but he doesn’t claim to truly know the sexualities of other people. Just a thought — we are wired to know ourselves much more than we’re wired to know others.

Back to the point. Phil probably has a good — Biblical — reason for believing what he believes about homosexuality. But discussing his preference of vaginas over anuses is obviously not a Biblically-based ideology. 

AE is not igniting a war on Christians. They’re not igniting a war on people who oppose homosexuality. They don’t really care about that, I don’t think. The fact that “eat mor chikin” commercials are aired on nearly every television station is proof enough of that. Here’s the thing: Chick-fil-A respectfully shared their views. Phil Robertson shared a very awkward, inappropriate sex talk.

I identify as a straight gay-rights activist. And I could care less what Phil Robertson thinks — honestly, most of America should be able to see this. Phil Robertson’s statement went viral and New Mexico passed marital equality in the same week. Phil’s opinion doesn’t really matter. 

I leave you with this, if you support Phil completely and think AE is making a terrible mistake: Would you want Phil to have this sex talk with your children? 

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”